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Not every dish on this site gets center stage at mealtime. And while the following is really a side dish, which could go just as well with a simply poached halibut filet as it would with a whole roasted chicken, tonight it gets its very own spot, all by itself.
In this preparation, I put 1 cup of lentils in a small dutch oven or saucepan with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, a sprig of thyme, and then fill with water to cover the lentils by about 2″. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender.
As an alternative, you can approach your lentils like you would a soup: first saute minced carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and herbs together in some hot oil or butter until soft, then add the lentils and cover with water, and continue just as above.
Either way, you can finish the dish with a little chopped bacon or lardons, a sprinkling of fresh parsley, a little olive oil, or anything else that suits you.
Eat more lentils. They’re really, really good for you and so tasty!
What happens when you come home at 9:00 pm with a hungry boyfriend and a sadly empty fridge? You make the easiest Sausage, Pepper, and Onion sandwiches you can imagine. They’re incredibly tasty, easy to doctor up however you like, and most importantly, fast.
I make this dish in a variety of ways and fairly often. Sometimes I use hot italian sausage, sometimes chicken apple sausage, or sometimes plain old breakfast links. The truth is, the combination of sausage, peppers, and caramelized onions on a soft toasted roll with dijon mustard is heaven.
The following recipe serves one hungry boyfriend or two small children. Adjust the portions as necessary. The technique is what matters here.
Is this the most gourmet meal I’ve ever made? Hell no. Is this one of my favorites and one that I return to at least once a month? Absolutely yes. Enjoy!
Sausage, Pepper, and Caramelized Onion Sandwiches
Two sausage links, about 1/3 pound total, sliced into 1″ pieces
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced thin
1 cup bell peppers, cut into large strips (I use very small sweet peppers and simply slice them in half)
1 t. fresh thyme, rosemary or other woody herbs to your liking
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- In a skillet, heat 2 t. olive oil until glossy over medium high heat.
- Add sliced onions and peppers, and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for five minutes, stirring every minute or so until they begin to take on some color, then turn heat down to medium.
- Add a few tablespoons of water — or broth, or wine — every five minutes or so to both deglaze the pan and add steam to quickly cook the onions and peppers.
- Continue this process for about 10-15 minutes, or until the onions are nicely caramelized and the peppers are tender.
- Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat a few tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Add sausage pieces and brown on all sides. Add 3 T. water and toss around until water is evaporated and the sausage is cooked through and nicely browned. If the sausage is still pink in the center, add a few more tablespoons of water.
- Serve peppers, onions, and sausage over a toasted roll brushed with your favorite mustard, such as dijon — my personal favorite for this recipe!
We had quite a few people over for brunch this past Sunday and served polenta (cooked overnight on low in a slow cooker) with a do-it-yourself toppings bar.
You can put practically anything on warm polenta for breakfast. But here’s what we had:
First the savory toppings:
- Smoked Salmon
- Roast Chicken
- Applewood Smoked Bacon
- Roasted red and yellow peppers
- Cheddar Cheese
- Buttermilk Blue Cheese
- Steamed broccoli
And for the sweet stuff:
- Figs Stewed in Brandy and Vanilla (video here)
- Blueberry-Cinnamon-Vanilla Compote
- Toasted Walnuts
- Pomegranate Seeds
- Maple Syrup
- Mascarpone Cheese
There’s nothing wrong with snacking. But if I’m going to have a snack, I’d really like it to have extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs, roasted garlic, and kosher salt. Having all that piled on top of some nice crusty french baguette doesn’t hurt either.
Baguette with Roasted Garlic and Herbs
3/4″ slices french or sourdough baguette, sliced on the bias (for looks)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh or dried thyme or other herbs.
2 cloves roasted garlic, per slice
Freshly cracked pepper
- Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over each slice of bread
- Sprinkle herbs generously. If using any large leafy herb such as sage or even rosemary (which isn’t leafy, I know), mince before sprinkling.
- Smash garlic gloves between your fingers and drop in small chunks roughly over the bread. You’re not spreading it gently here. Just drop big chunks all over.
- Top with kosher salt.
- Toast until dark and aromatic.
- Crack pepper over the top and serve. I put a small salad on the plate to pretend I’m eating healthfully.
Buon appetito, ragazzi.
The other night we had a friend over for dinner and I served cornbread along with a delicious pork tenderloin. Well, the cornbread was good, but, honestly, not great.
Tonight I sought out a better cornbread recipe. And while I almost never cook off of internet-published recipes outside of a few of my favorite blogs (here and here), this particular recipe from allrecipes.com stood out and is now my go-to recipe for skillet cornbread. It will be yours, too.
Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread
Courtesy of Bethany Weathersby on allrecipes.com
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 t. baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
- Preheat oven to 375° and place a greased (butter or canola oil or bacon grease or lard will all do fine) 8″ or 9″ cast-iron skillet on the middle rack. Alternatively you can use a greased 8″ square baking dish, but don’t pre-heat it.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter then remove from heat and whisk in white sugar until well incorporated. The mixture won’t really be smooth, as the sugar won’t completely dissolve.
- Quickly add in the eggs and whisk vigorously lest you risk cooking the eggs.
- Mix the baking soda and the buttermilk in a small bowl, then whisk into the butter mixture.
- Add both the cornmeal and the flour, and stir until combined, but still slightly lumpy.
- Now would be a good time to add in a little herbs or black pepper, maybe some bacon grease, or cayenne pepper if you want. Otherwise…
- Pour mixture into the cast iron skillet and bake for 30-40 minutes. Start checking at 25 minutes, though. When a knife comes out clean, the cornbread is done.
- Immediately turn the cornbread out onto a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve with honey butter (recipe follows)
Herbs (optional, but thyme or sage are great choices)
- Combine ingredients.
- Serve over cornbread.